People gather to support Geronimo the alpaca as owner refuses to kill him

Alpaca supporters
Supporters are growing in number at Helen Macdonald's farm in Wickwar in South Gloucestershire in an effort to protect Geronimo - the alpaca set to be killed. Credit: ITV News West Country

A group of people have gathered in support of an alpaca which could be killed at any point between now and September 4.

Geronimo has been sentenced to death after testing positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB).

His owner, Helen Macdonald, has spent thousands on a four-year High Court battle to save him but was told she must kill him.

But determined "not give up the fight", she has refused to kill the animal within the Government's 24-hour deadline.

Now the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) could move in to kill him at any moment. Geronimo will be put down at some point before September 4.

Supporters of Helen and Geronimo's cause are gathering at the farm in South Gloucestershire. They are calling themselves the 'Alpaca Liberation Front'.

  • Supporters increasing in number at the farm in Wickwar

Helen told ITV News West Country: "The team here is growing, we have more people who want to be here all the time. I also have a lot of scientists and experts who are on my side on this issue, there is science behind it.

"We have a live webcam set up and that is running 24 hours a day.

"We have eyes on him all the time. There are groups of people watching him and yet they still expect me to put him down. 

"I am not doing it, I am too stubborn, they need to do a study on this. The government are hellbent on this kill at all costs policy and it needs to stop."

Helen added: "I feel like the Government's holding me up and torturing me by making me continually appeal and state the case for Geronimo's future.

"It needs to actually think about the impact that this is having on people. If I put him down the world will turn on me.

"Nobody is willing to put Geronimo down because of the safety implications that will come from it. I am not doing it."

Why has Geronimo the alpaca been given a death sentence?

Helen Macdonald with her beloved alpaca Geronimo at her farm in South Gloucestershire Credit: ITV News West Country

Geronimo has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, and Defra had ordered him to be euthanised.

Helen imported the animal from New Zealand believes the tests are returning false positives as a result of him being injected with too much tuberculin before his arrival in the UK.

She has called for a third test since 2017 but has been refused permission on multiple occasions.